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January 04, 2013

Salted Caramel Brownies | The Barefoot Contessa Project

This post is part of my "A Month with The Barefoot Contessa" project.  To read all about the project and to find the index of posts for the project, click here.


Salted Caramel treats have been around for quite a while, but that doesn't make them any less delicious!  I featured Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes on this blog 2 years ago...  funny to look at those old photos!

I love how the Barefoot Contessa featured Salted Caramel Brownies in her new book - she doesn't reinvent the wheel.  She uses her own classic brownie recipe for Outrageous Brownies, then recommends that they be topped with a drizzle of store-bought caramel sauce, then flaked sea salt.  That's right, its not really a new recipe, but a new excuse to make brownies.... who doesn't need that?!

I made a half batch of my favorite brownie recipe and made it in an 8x8 pan.  My recipe is a combination of Martha Stewart's and the Barefoot Contessa's recipe.  It uses melted chocolate chips for a rich chocolate flavor.  I don't use extra chocolate chips, as Ina recommends, because I like the brownies to be soft and smooth inside, similar to chocolate truffles... as the name I gave them suggests : Chocolate Truffle Brownies.  If you use a box mix, which is great, too, the entire box will work great in a 8x8 or 9x9 pan, but as I mentioned, I made half of a batch of my homemade recipe.


Brownies baked in my favorite brownie pan - Golden Touch 8x8 Pan from Williams-Sonoma, $26.

I made my Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce - a lot easier than you would think.

Pour = Yum

Read to salt.

Be sure to be generous with the salt.  Thirty seconds later...


Welcome to The Holiday Collection

When I look back to my favorite classic images of Christmas homes, tables and trees, I always find myself gravitating toward those that feel timeless, with warm colors and lovely natural elements as the centerpiece.  My perfect Holiday Home is filled with big, over abundant fresh greenery, warm gold tones, rich velvet and satin ribbons, natural elements of acorns, fruit and pinecones, tall glowing taper candles and kraft paper packages, all settled into worn wood antiques, neutral upholstery and accents.  I've tried to translate that feel into this Holiday Collection, which includes simple ways to incorporate all of those feel good images for your Holiday, and little treasures and ideas for stocking stuffers and creative hostess gifts.

Above : The Rustic Bells, Set of 3, sold out quickly this morning, but have now been restocked.

This view probably feels familiar by now.  I love to show you how just adding a couple of elements each season, your home can gracefully evolve with each season.  The essential elements are the same (Wood Block Print Cushion CoversThe Softest ThrowsGold Frames), but the accents bring the sense of season.

It is a bit too early for us to have an actual Christmas Tree, but this Antique Fir Tree Print brings a bit of classic christmas cheer to this corner.  The prints are so inexpensive ($4-6) that it is easy to switch them out every season.

I have been so excited to get these candles in stock.  I carry them every year and give them to my friends and family as gifts at Thanksgiving.  Only available during the holiday season (the candle company only makes one batch!) they are my favorite hostess gift to give during the holidays.

The natural scent that these candles have from the Bayberry is warm, earthy and just a bit spicy.  If you've ever visited Nantucket, the scent of the Bayberry shrubs greet you as you get off of the fairy - completely nostalgic and comforting. The candles were among the most prized candles in colonial America because of their clear, consistent light and warm scent.

The card that is enclosed with the candles tells the history of using Bayberry Candles at Christmastime :

"These tapers are handcrafted using the purest bayberry wax.  Bayberry wax is the rarest and most prized of all candle waxes, and has a warm, earthy, spicy aroma.  According to tradition, to bring good luck, you must burn a Bayberry Candle on Christmas Day.  If the flame burns bright and the light shines clear, then heaven will bless you throughout the year."

Sledding Lumbar Hooked Pillow, $45

Holiday Gift Wrap & Tags

Holiday Entertaining Collection

Bits of fresh fruit for color.

Mix and Match, Old + New Silver, always my favorite.

Holiday Baking

We always make an effort to incorporate the Christmas Story into as many of our Holiday activities as we can.  Sometimes with all of the visits to Santa, decorating the tree, and parties, the true meaning of Christmas can easily get lost in the bustle, especially for children.  When I saw this very special collection of Copper Cutters in the form of a Nativity scene, I knew that this would be a great "Nativity" set for my kitchen window sill.  
I'll look forward to spending some time with Emma as we make and decorate these - it might be a fleeting moment of a brief story, but incorporating it into our Holiday tradition, then passing these cutters down to her, will help her continue the tradition.

All sizes of the Baking Baskets are back in stock.  I have some great ideas for these that include wrapping them in parchment, then in a tea towel and ribbon that I think will be my favorite Hostess Gift for the season.  Stay tuned...  speaking of gifts...

This is another departure from my typical product selection (as were the wraps last season), but more and more I realize that this store is really just a collection of my very favorite things.  

My friend introduced me to these earrings in college and they've been a staple in my wardrobe since.  I get endless compliments on them - most people think they are real ; )  They are perfectly understated, with just the right amount of sparkle.
This is the style that I've been wearing on a daily basis lately.  I wear them everyday and they look perfectly delicate and special with anything and everything.  They wrap all the way around the earlobe, making them so sensible and comfy for everyday, too.
Gold or Silver available in most styles.

Each pair comes packaged in a muslin sachet, tucked in a slate grey jewelry box, and tied with a Small Velvet Ribbon... perfect on size fits all stocking stuffers for the girls in your life.  They are affordable enough to be a great Hostess Gift for a special dinner and are always the best birthday present for a girlfriend.

As I've mentioned before, I have a very simple closet with mostly basics.  I rely on classic accessories like wraps and jewelry to take me from dressing up to down, and season to season.  These Crystal huggie style earrings are my dress-up earrings that can make a white oxford shirt with flats look dressy enough for a festive party.  They are also my to-go for formal events, and they look completely classic with satin or silk.

Of course, when placed in this lovely Oval Trinket Box ($40) it turns the earrings into more than just a stocking stuffer.  

These are so luxurious.  Truly.  Heirloom quality, classic hues.  Put this on your Christmas list - only for the very nice.


  1. Love the Verrill Farm spoon :) And these look amazing!

  2. Yum, those look delicious. I love following your Barefoot Contessa project.

  3. Looks great. I tried these as well and you are right, that sauce is so easy to make! I was shocked actually. -Tonya

  4. Very amazing.. I love the Contessa and you of course!

  5. NJ Heather10:15 AM

    I made these yesterday too! I cheated a bit and used a boxed brownie mix (Ghiradelli) but made homemade caramel (Barefoot recipe). I thought they were out of this world, especially when paired with Haagen Daz vanilla bean ice cream! My husband wasn't a fan. He's more of a purest with his brownies and would have preferred them without the caramel and sea salt.

  6. Anonymous7:01 PM

    Love, love, love Barefoot Contessa AND you! Her brownies are definitely the go-to brownie recipe for the ages. I received her Parties! book for Christmas this year - now my collection is complete. You MUST try her Coconut Cupcakes and Salmon Salad from her first book - it is how I got hooked on Ina. I'm excited for what is to come this month - and hope I can run into you when you are teaching a class sometime - my daughter lives in Kansas City and I get that direction every now and then.

  7. These look so delicious! I love anything Ina makes, thanks for sharing!

  8. Hi Jenny--love your blog! I made these last night and my fiance and I could have eaten half the pan! I am going to make caramel all the time; your instructions were flawless. Keep it up, you are so inspiring! xo

  9. I created these yesterday and my future husband and I could have consumed 50 percent the pan! I am going to create caramel all the time; your guidelines were perfect..
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